Last night’s nightmare


This morning, my daughter related the following story about my three-year-old grandson:

“Last night, our son came into our room crying, saying he had had a nightmare. I’m thinking monsters or bad guys. Actually, his nightmare was that he was at the store buying a fidget spinner, and they only had girl colors.”

You see, what seemed like a nightmare to him was a very minor inconvenience to almost anyone else.

All of us have nightmarish things happen to us occasionally. Some are major and life-changing. Others are mere inconveniences. When they do occur, however, we have several choices how we might react:

  1. We can hide our panic and deal with it ourselves – Our grandson could have pulled the covers over his head and tried to deal with his nightmare alone. That is a choice we all have and, frankly, the choice we make all too often. By hiding our fears, we often allow them to become bigger than they really might be. By bringing them out into the open, we can better face and defeat them.
  2. We can be comforted that things will always be better when a new day comes – Time really does heal our hurts. Nothing seems to diminish a nightmare like the dawn of a new day. As time moves forward, we should become more confident that our fears cannot control us nor defeat us.
  3. We can strike back and let the event control us – Our grandson could have reacted negatively by striking back at his parents, his sister, or others when the disappointments of his nightmare became known. When we strike back, we often allow the event to control us and distract us from the truth or the reality of the situation. Finding a way to master our fears without over-reacting is a key discipline that some never discover.
  4. We can share it with someone we love and trust and get through it together – Our grandson made the right choice when confronted by his nightmare… he shared it with his mother and learned that together, they could confront any fear. Having someone in your life that will walk through the dark with you is important and crucial in dealing with our own struggles.
  5. We can learn from the event and become stronger as a result – Today, our grandson knows that there are many places where he can find a fidget spinner with “boy colors.” His nightmare was not really worth the trouble. Likewise, when we learn from our fears, we become stronger and better able to deal with the troubles that could come tomorrow.

By this morning, our grandson had no ill effects from his nightmare. He remembered it, but knew that things are newer, brighter, and better with the new day. He also knew that he would not be defeated by his “nightmare”, especially if his stuffed kitty and battery-powered lightsaber were close-by.

Oh, the things we can learn from a child! How are you dealing with those fears that plagued you last night or today?

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